Had a great two practices this week. I’m sore and a bit bruised, but none the worse for wear.
The first practice was Lionsdale’s Wednesday practice. It went really well. It was our first day indoors, the hard packed dirt is amazing on the knees. It lets you practice a bit harder without the knee pain that I get occasionally from lunging too much on concrete. We started out with a bear-pit to warm up, as we’re all getting ready for the fall tournament season and shaking off the dust from war fighting. I haven’t fought in a tourney since Sir Eddies, and I”m planning on fighting this weekend, so I needed the practice.
With the bear-pit I started working on the semi-refuse guard that we were taught a few weeks ago. It seems to work well for defence and fits in perfectly with my current style. It’s very aggressive while allowing me to defend quickly. I was still having some issues with controlling my opponents blade, but not too much.
After warming up with just the three of us (Sebastian, Alejandro, and myself) a fourth person got there, Cion. He’s working on getting authorized, so we decided to test him out on the basics. We had him teach us how to stand, how to lunge, cut, and Parry. He taught us how to use a dagger, a shield, and a baton. We didn’t work on cloak, as we didn’t have one with us that day. He’s doing pretty good. Then we quizzed him about the rules for different things like engagement, holds, melee, and weapon requirements. He’s got most of those down too. That just left combat. So we started a four man bear-pit to test him out. He seems safe, though we haven’t tried unsafe activities against him yet, which is a major portion of the auth test, dealing with others mistakes.
During the bear-pit I was working on two things: Aggression and flow. I think that I’m getting the aggression down well. It seems to be working for me. When I started focusing on flow, it upped my game enough that I started winning almost as often as I lost. I went a full rotation in the bear-pit as defender. It seems to work well, also it helps for shifting guard from one stance to another smoothly. I think I’ll focus on flow more and more often as it seems to work.
Thursday night I went to Lionsgate’s practice. We had a full house. There was formal instruction for the new fighters, and the more experienced fighters paired off to work on individual concepts. I was working on the semi-refuse stance again. It worked wonders. A combination of that guard, aggression, and flow helped me to dominate a few fights. It worked well against two fighters who when I started fighting again last December I was just below their level. With one she only got a hit once, and I was about 70% against the other fighter. Then I fought Guillemin, correction, DON Guillemin (Kermit arms). I had my ass rightly handed to me. For some reason that I didn’t know at the time my guard wasn’t working at all.
After the fight Callen took me aside and explained to me what I was doing wrong. Although my stance was good against someone with a standard guard, because of how Guillemin fights he is slightly under the line I’m used to. Which meant that rather than being defensive, my semi-refuse stance just opened up most of my arm and torso to him. After a few minutes of discussion and examples I think I get the concept. Callen showed me how to adjust my guard to cut off the lines of attack on Guillemin similarly to how I was doing it with other opponents. I had to adjust the angle of my dagger and sword and it cut off the same lines. I’ll have to remember that, as Don Godfrey likes to do the same thing. I had gone about 10% against Guillemin, which is pretty normal for me.
Then I got to fight Callen. We haven’t fought rapier for so long it was great to get to do it again. I’m finding it easier to adjust guards, and keep moving, also finding it easier to spot openings. Callen has the ever moving guard, which used to intimidate me into counterpunching against him. It took me a bit to get used to it, but I found that when he was at the extreme outside of his movement I had a quartertempo to attack in as he changed the direction of his hand. It was probably my favorite fighting of the night. I went about 50% against him which is the best I’ve ever done with him.
I’ll have a better idea of my standings after this weekend. I”ll be fighting in at least one tournament, maybe two. But I think I may be back to mid level fighter, yay. So, now for the next step. I’ll be competing at Baronesses in November. I know I won’t make the top four, but I’d like to be in the top half. We’ll see how that goes.
Things to work on: flow, accuracy
Things that seem to be good: guard, aggression, dagger work
I’m starting to get to the point where I can occasionally get my first shot to count, but I’m still primarily second or third followup shot. Granted with the increased aggression I can usually get that second or third shot, but if my guard isn’t good enough, or I’m slightly off then I’m hooped. So, accuracy is going to be the main thing. I think that flow fits in well with that. Flow also seems to keep my guard strong, and my movements focused.